Friday, 17 October 2008

Trout and About

October brings the first round of trout water visits each year and this year is no exception. I managed three days out this week, two to Grafham Water and one to Chew Valley Reservoir. I pike fished at Grafham once before, many many years ago when it first opened but that was before I knew how to approach trout waters. That said, my result was the same this time, a blank!

Grafham is not a noted pike water these days but is known to produce some very big zander and since I've never caught a decent zander I decided to give it a go. The method most people use is to jig lures at considerable depth. Now I've tried jigging before and didn't do very well at it then either but armed with a soft rod and a box of jigs I set out onto Grafham's 1500 acres to see what I could get.

Day one I was on my own in the boat. That left me at a slight disadvantage since it meant I had to carry the anchors, battery, sounder and all the boating paraphernalia on my own from car to boat. As a result I was one of the last boats away and of course, when I got out on the water all the best spots were taken. My jigs were not taken by any fish that day but there were some very big zander caught with the biggest going 17lb 8oz, a very big fish. I did see a couple of good ones boated and at one stage saw that one of them was struggling on the surface. Zander don't deal with changes in pressure very well. That's because they don't have a pneumatic duct to vent excess air from their swimbladder like pike do and sometimes when they are dragged up from great depth they over-inflate and can't get back down again.

Fortunately I had made myself a contraption I'd spotted on one of the websites which is designed to get zander down into deep water again. This basically involves the hook from a coathanger with an eye whipped on and a heavy weight. You hook the hook under the zander's gill cover and let the weight take it down to the bottom before shaking the fish off with a couple of flicks of the rod tip. It worked a treat. the fish went down to the bottom and I didn't see it come back up so either it's lying dead on the bottom or it recovered.

Day two was only slightly better in that I did actually get a couple of hits to my jigs but still nothing in the boat. I spent the day with Dave Horton though and we entertained each other with tales of our exploits, both fishing and non-fishing. So nothing was caught but we got to know each other a little better and that makes it a successful day as far as I'm concerned.

From Grafham I had a mad dash across country to Gloucester where I collected my son, Joe from the railway station. We spent the night at a Travelodge and in the morning drove on to Chew. I really like Chew, it's a water I fish every year and it usually produces a good fish or two. Things were hectic out on the water this time and in contrast to Grafham, we had lots of pike, 27 in all but most of them were quite small. It was opening day, the first I'd ever had on there and the problem of location was always going to be the one to overcome. The choice we had was either to go on the drift and just fish lures or "gun and run" fishing static with baits and lures but for only brief periods. We chose the latter and moved many times during the day. Best fish came to me, a lovely tailwalking specimen of 20lbs 14oz but Joe was close behind with an equally fit 18lb 14oz pike, both of which fell to float-legered smelt.

The drive home from Chew was a long one and Joe fell asleep on the way. We were both exhausted but very happy, roll on the next session!

1 comment:

Pike fly-fishing articles said...

Two nice looking girls you have there.Zander here in Finland are generally caught for eating and I have to be honest they are probably the second best tasting fresh water fish from the lakes behind Salmon & Trout.3 weeks ago a chap while waiting to cool down from his sauna picked up his jigging rod and was casting around the floating pier he was sitting on and hooked into a 23lb'r in no less than 2m deep water."Jammy bugger I say"
Dead baiting for Zander here is none existent as well as for Pike, but that I put down to Fins not having the patience to watch a float all day.
Nice read by the way